Welcome again to Warwickshire Still Means Business.
As has always been the case in this most extraordinary of years, a huge amount has happened since we last published, not least with the return to school of all of our year groups, a landmark that was seen as critical in enabling more people return to work.
However, the optimism that that event should have brought has been tempered with the nationwide increase in cases of Covid-19 and the increased restrictions that the government is beginning to introduce in response to controlling the virus. While not as hard hitting as the measures announced in March, the announcement of mandatory 10pm closing times will no doubt throw up more challenges for the hospitality sector.
Clearly, bringing down the rate of transmission is integral to any sustained progress. This week sees the launch of the NHS’ new Covid-19 app. Businesses with a physical location open to the public now have a legal requirement to download a QR code poster so that their visitors are able to check in. More details are included elsewhere in this issue.
This is another key step in the plan to control the spread of the virus and will play a vital role in containing any positive cases. We are acutely aware of the major role that businesses have already played, and are continuing to play, with the adaptations they have made to how they operate. I would like to thank them again, in advance, for their continued co-operation as this app is launched.
At the meeting of the County Council’s Cabinet, recently, the Covid-19 Recovery Plan was approved. In it, plans to kickstart the county’s economic recovery are outlined. Our partnership with local businesses and other agencies is absolutely at the core of this but we have also allocated a good deal of funding to back up this commitment; we currently have a package of over £6m earmarked towards supporting economic recovery.
In this edition, there is an excellent case study showing how a Nuneaton-based legal company was able to access support, through the County Council’s Survive, Sustain and Grow scheme, which is helping them not only to survive the effects of the pandemic but to work in new ways and make the most of arising opportunities.
You can also read about the Tech Challenge and Art Challenge, both of which have received funding and will be coming onstream during the autumn.
We know that town centres are integral to the local economy so the Art Challenge will look to create attractive locations that shoppers and residents will want to visit with confidence. But the need for businesses to have a strong digital presence grows so the Tech Challenge will support that. These challenges seem to be so different and yet are complementary, each making a contribution to the complete package of support.
Speaking of town centres, there is some good news for Nuneaton with a major new retailer moving into the town as well as the My Town project which the County Council and other partners are supporting. This does not replace the Transforming Nuneaton project but sits alongside it. There are some really exciting times on the horizon for Nuneaton.
I hope you enjoy this edition of Warwickshire Still Means Business. Once again, it is testament to the resilience and innovation that are prevalent in the county and which have not wavered over the course of the last six months.
Strategic Director for Communities